Seconds Away: Harlan Coben: My review

Seconds Away: Harlan Coben


Magicians create illusions when they want people to see things that are not really there. Sometimes events in our lives happen and what we think is reality is not. As you think about an incident that caused tragic results you often remember the details the way you want them to have happened? But, what happens when someone jogs your memory in another direction? What would you do if an odd or strange lady told you that what you believed happened to your father really did not? What if a photograph of a Nazi war criminal held the key to your father’s past and present?


Mickey Bolitar might be 16 years old but he’s smart, astute and understands more than most think. Becoming a junior sleuth along with his two friends, he managed to solve one crime and becomes embroiled in another. After meeting with the strange Bat Lady he calls he sees his friend Ema and shares what happened with her. A photo of someone who looks like the paramedic who tried to save his father at the scene of an accident is really a war criminal that killed this lady’s husband. When she tells him they are one in the same he cannot believe her? How could some 90 have been a paramedic just a short time ago and the same man who tried to save his father? But, there is more as he texts his two other friends and then something happens. Two good friends Spoon and Rachel. Rachel and Mickey have a school project done the following day but something happens and the police for questioning for a shooting take in Mickey. Who shot Rachel? Mickey will do everything in his power to find out. As the police questioned him Myron became more agitated and the accusations against him in the past come out. But, why would someone shoot Rachel and kill her mother? So, Myron, Ema and Spoon decided to do their own form of a covert operation to find out what really happened to Rachel and why. But, when they attempt to get into the hospital they need they need to be resourceful, smart and definitely try to get something over on the nurses. What Spoon does is hilarious and how Myron finds Rachel quite clever. But, the mystery has yet to be solved as the Chief of Police enters her room and the conversation seems quite odd.


As more facts unfold we learn about a link to the Holocaust as one of Myron’s teachers puts it all together for him in an interesting way. What does a survivor of the Holocaust have to do with the Butcher of Lodz? The odd part that connects not only Rachel but also the Bat Lady is butterflies, which are seen in more places than one and linked to the story his history teacher tells him about children being led to safety by butterflies. So, why would the Chief of Police tell Rachel it was okay not to talk to the homicide detective until she speaks to him? What about Myron trying out for the basketball team and learning more about the Chief and the leading all time scorer who happened to be his Uncle Myron?


When Myron decides to explore on his own and visit the Bat Lady’s house what he learns about her will put him in danger, surprise the reader and reveal her true identity that will link back to the war. A tombstone in her garden whose inscription is familiar to Myron. A resistance fighter hiding in plain sight. Staring into a room what and whom he saw would give him more than the chills and calling for help would be his next step. Locked doors, a fire started and all of the photos caught in the flames. Portraits going up in smoke and Myron enveloped in flames. A strange reaction by the Chief of Police, an arrest, a rescue from an unusual source as a famous actress linked to his uncle and once friends with his mom comes to his aid and things are going to heat up even more. With the help of one teacher he just might learn the truth about this Nazi war criminal and bring him to justice. Author Harlan Coben brings to light many issues that kids face today. Bullying, hate crimes, distrust, lack of parental guidance, prejudice and isolation all issues that teens including Myron face. As he talks to Angelica Wyatt who tries to explain adults to him, Myron still feels alone and distrustful of everyone but is two friends Ema and Spoon. Just what is Ema’s story and why is she so secretive about her home life has been touched on but not totally revealed? Just why is Rachel texting Myron and hoping to enlist his help in whatever caused the shooting and who might have been behind it? Why didn’t she tell anyone her mother was visiting?


As the pieces of the puzzle come into place we learn a hidden truth about Ema and just what her roots are and where she lives. Added in we learn more about Rachel and her relationship with her mother and why she feels responsible for her death. Her father’s behavior odd, her mother claiming he caused her breakdown and a stepmother who left town. Implying that her father might have caused her mother’s death, then the truth about Rachel and the Abeona Shelter and the children that had to be saved the links are filling in but there are some spaces in the puzzle or the chain of events that have yet to be revealed. Added in are Myron’s feelings about his own mother in rehab and his lack of trust in adults. Added in the coach decided to take him off the team.


Closure comes when a situation is over and you find or learn all of the answers. But, after hearing the words that Bat Lady said Myron needs to learn more about his father’s death and makes a strange request of his uncle. What is drawing him to her house? What drew his father there too? Why did Rachel’s father associate with hoodlums? What about his friend Tyrell’s father whose an investigator? Why is he warning him to stay out of whatever is going on? What are the pieces that will link all of the events together? Could Rachel’s father have something to do with Tyrell’s father’s investigation into a drug ring in their town? What they find in the house will link it to the shelter and Myron learns where to find another piece of the puzzle.


Then, a trip to the high school turns tragic and the end result puts one of his friends life’s on jeopardy. What really happened to Rachel’s mother and who shot Rachel? When will the deceits and cover-ups end and will the truth come out? What will happen when he pushes to learn the truth about his father’s death? What is the connection to the shelter and who really killed Rachel’s mother and who shot Rachel? An ending that will change things for Mickey and his friends filled with many surprises and unusual twists. One 16-year-old boy has to make a decision that will change the life of a friend forever. Do you keep a lie or do you reveal the truth? Author Harlan Coben brings this and many other issues to light in Seconds Away and outstanding YA novel. What is the truth behind the Abeona Shelter and what really happened to the Butcher of Lodz? Who is the mysterious Bat Lady? Find out when you read this book that both YA’s and Adults will love.

Seconds Away: You never know when your life will change in a flick of a match or just a simple second.

Fran Lewis: Reviewer : Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN SECONDS










Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: